Dan Lebowitz

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Once again, paths to music, wonder, and joyful celebration converged in early July at the four-day High Sierra Music Festival in the small mountain town of Quincy, California, where the elevation is twice the number of the population. Headlined by Sturgill Simpson, The String Cheese Incident, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Grace Potter, George Porter Jr., Melvin Seals and more, this was the 28th High Sierra Fest. and the 20th at the county fairgrounds in Quincy.

On a very warm, sun-splashed Memorial Day in San Rafael, California, ALO and some of their musical friends performed outdoors at Terrapin Crossroads back yard area, aka Beach Park. Two full afternoon sets of their unique brand songs and ingenious and technically proficient jamming included extended guest spots by Trey Anastasio Band (and more) horn players Natalie Cressman (trombone) and Jennifer Hartswick (trumpet). Hartswick not only played but sang Blondie’s “Rapture,” as well as fine harmonies on “Shakedown Street.”

The second annual Skull and Roses Festival brought Deadheads from all over California, to the Ventura Fairgrounds, for three days of music inspired by The Grateful Dead. The campground area was nearly full by the time the music started early on Friday afternoon, April 6th. Festival publicist Dennis McNally, who was the publicist for the Grateful Dead from 1984-95 choose the spot because of its significance in the history of the Dead.

ALO on February 23 delivered a wondrous two-set performance in Sacramento that was an excellent representation of how the jammy, jazzy, funky, poppy, electronica four-piece displays its lively endeavors of excellence. Such musical escapades, in turn, visibly pleased the audience, many of whom were “on the bus” for many gigs the band’s 12th annual Tour d’Amour, which always runs before and after Valentine’s Day. Singer-songwriter John Craigie opened the show.

Just a couple of weeks into 2018, Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, California, hosted its first House Party of the year with legendary proprietor Phil Lesh and his Terrapin Family Band performing three sets, each with its own guest guitarist, in the intimate bar/restaurant.

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